Elizabeth M. Haines, research chemist

Elizabeth M.Haines
Elizabeth M.Haines
Posted: November 26, 2012

Elizabeth M. Haines, 98, a former Moorestown resident and research chemist before women generally landed such jobs, died of heart failure on Nov. 8 at Medford Leas, a retirement community where she had lived for 28 years.

Mrs. Haines was one of the first women to work for the DuPont Co. as a research chemist.

She was descended from William Matlack, who landed in Burlington in 1677. He became a farmer and landowner with a wife and nine children.

Born in a home on Moorestown's Main Street in 1914, Mrs. Haines told family she could recall the predawn procession of horse-drawn farm wagons, laden with tomatoes, en route to the Campbell Soup Co. factory in Camden.

She attended Moorestown Friends School through ninth grade, and graduated from Westtown School in 1931. She went on to earn bachelor's and master's degrees in chemistry from Mount Holyoke College in 1935 and 1937.

At that time, society expected women like Mrs. Haines to become a wife and mother and little else, but she was "not one to let grass grow under her feet," said her son, Bruce. She wanted a job.

So in 1937 she became one of the first three women hired by DuPont as a chemist. She researched paint pigments at DuPont's Newark, Del., facility, working on the upper floor.

The building had no women's restroom, she told her family; she would use the men's, or go across the street to another building to use the women's lavatory, she said.

Mrs. Haines married Bernard Haines, a Westtown classmate, in 1941 and turned her attention to homemaking and community service. The two resided in Maple Shade for over 30 years and in Medford for the past 38 years.

A birthright Quaker, she was a 28-year trustee for Moorestown Friends School, and an overseer of Moorestown Friends Meeting for the same period.

"She supported people around personal issues and challenges," acting as an informal counselor, her son said.

She served on the board of the Moorestown Visiting Nurse Association and coordinated the Moorestown Meeting's "Sewing Group." The group repaired clothing for the Material Aid Program of the American Friends Service Committee.

Her family said Mrs. Haines was happiest outdoors, spending weekends in the pines at a cottage along the Rancocas Creek in Medford, and hiking and swimming in Maine. She also enjoyed travel.

Mrs. Haines is one of a few surviving members of "the Westtown Crowd," a group of high school classmates who met for dinner at members' homes nine months a year, starting in 1937. The crowd also held annual house party weekends in Ocean City and Medford.

Surviving, in addition to her son, is another son, Philip; a daughter, Gail; five grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. Her husband died in 1986 of lung disease.

A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, at Medford Leas.

Contributions may be made to Moorestown Friends School, 110 E. Main St., Moorestown, N.J. 08057.

Contact Bonnie L. Cook at 215-854-2611 or bcook@phillynews.com.

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